Global Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2319-8834

+32-466902147

Abstract

Do Natural Antagonists Ever Cooperate in Legislation? Jewish and Arab Legislators in the Israeli Knesset

Akirav Osnat

A superficial look at Israeli society might cause one to conclude that there are few situations in which Jewish and Arab legislators in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) would cooperate. Using data about the initiation and cosponsorship of bills in the Knesset, we test this common wisdom and determine that such is not the case. As our results demonstrate, Arab MKs understand that the only way to pass legislation that benefits their community is to cooperate with their Jewish colleagues. We examined two different kinds of cooperative strategies between Arab and Jewish MKs: intra-party cooperation and cross-national cooperation. The most frequent cooperative strategy that occurs between parties takes place when Jewish MKs initiate a bill and Arab MKs co-sponsor it. The most frequent cooperative strategy with regard to cooperation within parliament is when Jewish MKs initiate a bill and Arab MKs and Jewish MKs co-sponsor it. However, the two patterns that result in the highest degree of legislative success are different. In intra-party cooperation, it happens when Arab and Jewish MKs initiate a bill and Jewish MKs co-sponsor it. In cooperation within parliament, it occurs when Arab MKs and Jewish MKs initiate a bill and Arab MKs co-sponsor it. Our contribution to the literature is the form of the analysis we created to map the various cooperative strategies that MKs use. Testing this approach in other contexts is important for validating its usefulness.

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